Another game, another loss.
The loss to Pittsburgh makes it six in a row and the Isles are officially in the cellar. The New York Rangers, who sold just about every piece they had, just swept the West Canada trip and the Isles have dropped six to beatable teams. How did this happen? Injuries, incompetence, and failure to take the next step.
Are they a playoff team? Well, a lot of us would say no. I would have to agree with that, but as crazy as it seems, they’re not out just yet. The thing is this: if they make a strong push and win about 10 out of 14, is that enough to jump now four teams and come in as the 8th seed? Because if not, I would prefer the higher draft pick.
Another thing is, do you even want to be the 8th seed and deal with Tampa Bay? They’re far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference and it would most likely be a five or six game series. A first round exit doesn’t help Tavares stay.
That brings us to the biggest issue. How does this season impact Tavares’ contract talks? Tavares seems like the player that doesn’t want to deal with contract talks mid-season. It doesn’t help the headlines that have already surfaced about him leaving. Still, Tavares remains where he always has on the matter: “I’d love to stay an Islander.”
It would be incredible if he were an Islander for life and at some point brought a Stanley Cup to Long Island. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be surprising if he decided to leave after the incompetence in the front office this season.
General Manager Garth Snow lost two big penalty killers in Nikolay Kulemin and Calvin de Haan early in the year and refused to use the extra draft picks he has to improve.
Furthermore, he went out and got a 4th line forward and bottom pairing defenseman as his “big acquisitions” at the deadline. That is unacceptable for a team trying to persuade a superstar to stay and also to take the next step.
Now we’re only a few weeks away from the postseason. The top teams in the league will start clinching in probably around two weeks or so. Do the Islanders go for broke? Do the Islanders go for a better draft selection? Do they trade that draft selection? Do they trade Tavares’ rights at the draft knowing from a backdoor deal that he will come back when free agency opens on July 1? There are so many questions coming up, I hope Garth is prepared.
What do you all think? Should they go for the playoffs or the draft? Trade his rights, the pick or both? Let me know in the comments!